Only 30 years ago, Shenzhen was no more than a fishing village. Nowadays, the city ranks fourth in the country’s top 5 largest economies.
Shenzhen has between 6 and 9 million inhabitants -depending on the way you count them- with one of the higher purchasing power of mainland China. In 2010, Shenzhen’s GDP reached 951.09 billion Yuan, namely 12% more than the previous year. And it is thought to have reached US$160 billion last year.
Financial services, high-technology, cultural and logistic industries are the pillar of Shenzhen’s economy. New modern sectors such as biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries are quickly developing as well. Moreover, as a major port for China and even Asia, Shenzhen’s economy is exportation-oriented, mainly towards the USA, EU, Hong-Kong and Japan. In 2010, the export volume grew by more than 25%. Finally, Shenzhen also has one of the two Stock Exchange in China, with 730 companies listed and a market capitalization about US$ 1 trillion for last year.
But according to the figures, the manufacturing sector contributed more to the city’s GDP than the service sector. Besides, Shenzhen’s growth mainly relies on the development on its own companies, and not only on foreign investments, which has helped the city to recover from the 2008 economic crisis faster than a lot of other cities.
Shenzhen Special Economic Zone
The Shenzhen Special Economic Zone was started in May 1980. It is composed of four districts – Nanshan, Luohu, Yantian and Futian- and covers more than 490 km². Like the others four Special Economic Zones of China, it is has advantageous policies to companies, in order to allure them, and especially the foreign ones. But Shenzhen’s SEZ is the first and the most successful one. World class Chinese companies like Lenovo have already settled down there. Actually 166 of the 500 world biggest companies can be found in Shenzhen’s SEZ as well. Indeed, The SEZ is a center for numerous R&D, software, multimedia, and high-technology and micro-technology firms.
The Qianhai Project
In 2011, the Chinese government decided to transform a 15km-vacant lot in the Qianhai district, into a hub for innovating industries and finance services. This new center is hoped to become the “Manhattan of the Pearl River Delta” by 2020 and should be granted almost 6 billion dollars to do so. Both Shenzhen and Hong Kong’s business organizations and governments have been working on this project, and the cooperation between these two top cities didn’t fail to attract the attention of international firms from the whole world.
Shenzhen is one of world’s little miracles in terms of economic development. With its strategic position as a bridge between mainland China and Hong-Kong, Shenzhen acted as a kind of laboratory to Chinese government “opening” experiences. But this status benefited largely to Shenzhen, and changed this former small village into one of the most thriving cities in China.